A brightly colored Curation Foods mobile truck was the perfect backdrop to sunshine, blue skies and the upbeat mood of clients and volunteers alike on this Friday morning in early June. Curation had made the one-and-a-half hour trek from their Bowling Green, Ohio plant to deliver fresh produce to the folks lined up at the Twelfth Street Food Pantry on Detroit’s west side. They arranged their mobile truck delivery to coincide with the pantry’s bi-weekly food distribution.
“Fresh produce is a huge focus for Gleaners. We’re thrilled Curation chose to pilot this important program with us.”Mollie Allard, Agency Relations Manager, Gleaners
Curation had reached out to the Food Bank Council of Michigan for recommendations on a partnering food bank. One of their criteria was to work within the city of Detroit where the need is so great. Will Moss, Curation’s Facility Manager at the Bowling Green plant said, “We chose Gleaners because they’re so well organized. We felt comfortable partnering with them.” Gleaners then had the task of selecting a food pantry from among the many they serve. “We brainstormed as a team, looking for a strong partner that had a large clientele. Bobby Cooper, Chairman of the Board for the Twelfth Street Pantry came to mind. He’s very open to working with us to bring more fresh produce to his clients,” said Mollie Allard, Gleaners Agency Relations Manager.
Providing fresh, healthy produce to the people it serves is a top priority for Gleaners. In 2018, nearly 19 million pounds of the 43 million pounds distributed was fresh produce. “Our clients want fresh produce but it’s expensive and not easy to find,” said Allard.
Additionally, fresh produce often provides logistic challenges for food banks due to limited refrigeration. The produce that is stored must be quickly distributed while it’s at peak freshness. Curation’s partnership with Gleaners is its first collaboration with a food bank.
On this, their second trip to Twelfth Street, every client received a packaged bag of fresh organic green beans along with a gourmet salad kit, both from Curation’s Eat Smart brand. Mollie Allard, Agency Relations Manager for Gleaners who was on site emphasized, “Fresh food is a huge focus for Gleaners. We’re thrilled Curation chose to pilot this important program with us.”
Ronald, who was waiting in line, has been a client at Twelfth Street since 2012 and lives just around the corner. He cooks for himself and had tried Curation’s salad in a bag after his last pantry visit. “It’s good,” said Ron with a smile on his face. “I liked it.” Reginia, a first-time client to Twelfth Street was excited by the timing of the day’s Curation Foods delivery. “It’s my son’s birthday today. He loves salad.” Talking further, she said they would be having grilled hot dogs, salad-in-a-bag, some fruit and cupcakes later in the day to celebrate. Reginia was there with her sister Carolyn. The two had learned about Curation Foods generosity from another client, Sandra, who spreads the word as part of her food ministry.
“I think it’s wonderful to help deliver fresh produce to people who may not have it.”Lisa Rutkowski, Senior Human Resources Manager, Curation Foods
The Curation Foods mobile truck will be back to Twelfth Street Food Pantry two more times this summer. The produce they’ll be sharing with our hungry neighbors is fresh, wholesome and easy to prepare. “I think it’s wonderful to help deliver fresh produce to people who may not have it,” said Lisa Rutkowski, Senior Human Resources Manager at Curation Foods. We think all the people lined up on that Friday morning, like Ronald and Reginia, would wholeheartedly agree.